For example, I have no idea why I find the "one base is a unit" thing so satisfying. I can conjure a dozen logical arguments for or against it but only guess at the real reasons why that attraction exists. One argument for them is that one can make interesting dioramas on each base. One can, and in the past I have done so, my 15mm Indians never really left the woods since every base had at least a bush or rock and fallen log if it didn't have a small tree to hide behind, but even with these plain, temporary bases the satisfaction persists. It might be thought to be ease of moving them about but really one 3 stand unit is no harder to move than three 1 stand units. Reason is denied or rather hidden, I'm sure it exists.
But on with the game.
Having the mere idea of a punitive expedition as a start I made the scenario up as I laid out the terrain and sorted through what figures I had able to be used and pondered the back story which has changed a bit from what I was expecting last fall. At that time I was contemplating a sort of Not Quite the Boer War crossed with a bit of WWI in Africa or European intervention. However, having thrown some red coats into the first scenario to make up numbers made me think earlier and I was later reminded about the whole Not Quite the NorthWest Rebellion thing that also tempts me. I decided that I did not want to do both, certainly not at the same time nor did I want to make either campaign wait any longer. As an historical and military event the Boer War interests me but from a wargaming point of view its not recreating the history that is what engages me it is the switch from crowded battlefields fought over by similar armies to one of open veldt (or prairie) with periodic towns, rivers, etc, and the idea of a mobile, largely non-professional, army with modern weapons taking on a professional one successfully. I consulted the geography and existing history of my imaginary land and came up with a modified back story and plan.
The Kapelle District is right next to Oerberg on the map, Kapelle is already listed as being the area where the remnants of the Brethern of the Coast retreated to after their defeat and where they mingled with the native tribes. It is also on record that the Faraway Trading Company (FTC) backed by the Queen's troops followed and attempted to enforce her rule. Since their neighbour has already had a brush with Faraway, it seemed obvious to ally the two and so we find Oerberg sending an unofficial party of "volunteers" across the border. Allowing the President to lead the expedition in person was probably a mistake politically but I think he has achieved his goal of war. One change I envisage now is to increase the level of development of Oerberg including a slightly larger standing army, or at least some urban militia regiments and a slight move away from the very Boer-like look to.... well you'll see eventually. Lets say a sort of Riel Rebellion meets the Boer War and Pancho Villa and more. (I want to use those trucks and cars!)
The Faraway force consisted of a single Brigade consisting of a Commander, 4 cavalry, 6 infantry, a mountain gun, an MG and 2 supply wagons. The wagons have no combat ability but count as units for army morale giving Faraway 14 units or being able to suffer 5 losses. Since there is only one brigade the army will be defeated once it is exhausted. Their enemy was divided into 2 brigades. The tribesmen (name needed) under Blue Jacket had 1 cavalry, 2 mounted rifles, 3 rifles and 2 spearmen for a total of 8 units, exhaust point of 3. Old Cords led 4 units of Oerberg Mounted Rifles and a light gun. or 5 units, exhaust point of 2.
Faraway entered along the road making full infantry road speed while the cavalry scouted for ambushes. They triggered one but managed to do more harm than they took and the rebels were some what taken aback at the firepower of the machine gun. Their mounted troops spent most of the rest of the game trying to get at the wagons as the best way to cause the enemy to retreat. This had the side effect of drawing off 1/2 the Faraway troops to protect the wagons.
The attack on the town looked promising at first. Against my better judgement I let a squadron of lancers charge the rifle pits while waiting for the infantry and gun to come up. To my surprise they managed to drive the enemy out and lived to tell the tale and with the Dragoons coming up the scenario looked like it might have an early end. Then the Oerbergers showed up and a few turns later the town was cleared the Dragoons had lost a squadron and all of the Faraway cavalry was damaged. I pulled the cavalry back to rally and decided to try to wear the enemy down with long range fire. That wasn't going so well until Old Cords got cocky and sent one of his troops charging into the machine gun, forgetting that they were mounted rifles not cavalry and that the enemy was an mg until I rolled the dice. I offered to let him take the suicidal move back but he was too honest to accept and just pulled his unit off. That was when I decided I should count the troops and establish break points. Oerberg has lost 1 stand in the fight with the cavalry and this ill fated charge finished them off.
It took a few more turns of manoeuvring and praying for initiative and some close calls which almost tipped the scales but at the end of the day firepower won out and Bluejacket's braves were forced to retreat. Faraway lost 2 cavalry and 1 infantry unit but won the day.
|What? The end? Sorry. The turns flew by so fast and I was so wrapped in the game that I forgot to stop for pictures. Incidentally, Although only the 6" squares are marked I was counting in 3" squares, or quadrants if you will.
The first is that originally a unit that gave ground was supposed to have to spent its next turn halted. That would have meant a marker, a different marker from the "I've suffered a loss" marker. Since a unit loses a die if it moved there is a penalty for retaking the ground but there is no penalty for cavalry falling back and immediately charging again and nothing to stop a unit of riflemen from being driven out of cover only to reoccupy it before the enemy could advance. Time and time again. I'll restore the pin marker and penalty but make the retreat part optional for troops in cover to save wear and tear on my fingers and to avoid having to explain why they would run away rather than hide.
The second is that I abandoned my usual defensive fire rule for melee. The defender rolls first rule does the same thing for infantry and artillery but doesn't feel right for cavalry that is counter-charging. I'll just do the words once I figure out how to handle the give ground issue for simultaneous combat, maybe disallowing it for cavalry vs cavalry melees or making the defender choose first to reflect the advantage for cavalry of being the attacker in contemporary kriegspiel rules.
One other thing I'm contemplating, not because it doesn't work but just to be tidy is to change the cover penalty from a score to hit to a die reduction. It makes a difference but I haven't decided yet if the difference is good, bad or neutral. Being consistent would be good though and easier to remember in the heat of battle as long as it doesn't harm the effect. Cumulative penalties for different things which might turn things from difficult to impossible is the real danger hence my occasional hedging of a "but never less than 1" sort of rule.